Hurricane Watch & Hurricane Warning:
What’s The Difference?
Hurricanes are strong storms that cause life and property threatening hazards such as flooding, storm surge, high winds and tornadoes. Preparation is the best protection against the dangers of a hurricane. As forecasters track a hurricane the terms “hurricane watch” and “hurricane warning” will be used often. It is important to know the difference:
- Hurricane Watch – Hurricane conditions are a threat within 48 hours. Review your hurricane plans, keep informed and be ready to act if a warning is issued.
- Hurricane Warning – Hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. Complete your preparations and leave the area if directed to do so by authorities.
What Should I Do?
- Listen to local forecasts on television and radio as well as National Weather Service (NWS) announcements.
- Check your disaster supplies and replace or restock as needed.
- Bring in anything that can be picked up by wind (furniture, toys, etc.)
- Close windows, doors and shutters.
- Turn refrigerator and freezer to the coldest settings and keep them closed as much as possible so that food will last longer if power goes out.
- Turn off propane tanks and unplug small appliances.
- Fill your car’s gas tank.
- Create an evacuation plan with your family. Plan routes to local shelters and make plans for pet care.
- Evacuate if advised by authorities. Be careful to avoid flooded roads and bridges.
- Because standard homeowners insurance does not cover flooding, it is important to have protection from floods associated with heavy rains, tropical storms and hurricanes. For more information visit the National Flood Insurance Program website at https://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program
What Supplies Do I Need?
- Water – at least a three-day supply, one gallon per person, per day.
- Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable, easy to prepare food.
- Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Medications seven-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids, glasses, syringes, etc.)
- Multi-purpose tool
- Sanitation & personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents (medications, proof of address, deed/lease, passports, insurance policies, etc.)
- Cell phones with chargers
- Family & emergency contact information
- Extra cash (ATMs may be down if power is lost)
- Emergency blankets
- Maps of the area
- Baby & pet supplies if needed
- Tools/supplies to secure your home
- Extra clothing (hats and shoes as well)
- Extra set of car & house keys
- Rain gear
- Insect repellent and sunscreen
- Camera for photos of damage for insurance claims
What Do I Do After A Hurricane?
- Continue to listen to weather forecasts and local news for updates.
- Stay alert for extended rainfall and flooding even after the storm has ended.
- If you evacuated only return home when officials say it is safe.
- Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and bridges.
- Keep away from loose or downed wires and report them immediately.
- Stay out of any building surrounded by water.
- Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures for insurance claims.
- Use flashlights in the dark, NOT candles which can cause fires.
- Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it is not contaminated.
- Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
- Wear protective clothing and use caution when cleaning up to avoid injury.
- Watch pets closely and keep them under your direct control.
- Use telephones only for emergency calls
Let Your Family Know You Are Safe!
If your community experiences a hurricane or any disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website available through RedCross.org/SafeandWell to let your family and friends know about your welfare. If you do not have Internet access, call 1-866-GET-INFO to register yourself and your family.
Click here to download a Hurricane Safety Checklist provided by the Red Cross.